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On the Gulf

Elizabeth Spencer

Publication Year: 2013

The magnetic appeal of land, sea, and sky along the southern coast has drawn Elizabeth Spencer many times to this lush and semitropical setting. This collection brings together six of her stories set amid terrain lapped by the warm coastal currents. These stories all happen on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico, from New Orleans to Florida. In each a girl or young woman gives voice to the narrative, probing and groping for a secure place and identity.


The six stories included here are "On the Gulf," "The Legacy," "A Fugitive's Wife," "Mr. McMillan," "Go South in the Winter," and "Ship Island." Each reveals the special allure of the Gulf Coast region through the author's depiction of character and engagement with the complexities of plot. In these stories that illuminate the lives of sundry females--from insecure waifs to novice seductresses--Spencer investigates female psyche, a topic which lies at the core of much of her fiction.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Front Matter

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Introduction: An Opening to the Sea

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pp. ix-xxix

If I could have one part of the world back the way it used to be, I would not choose Dresden before the fire bombing, Rome before Nero, or London before the blitz. I would not resurrect Babylon, Carthage or San Francisco. Let the leaning tower lean and the hanging gardens hang. I want...

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On the Gulf

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pp. 1-7

“Wears her out,” said Mary Dee, and getting tired, her hair damp and hot, she let the cat die. It died slow as anything, then she was scarcely moving over the bare place in the grass where you pushed, and then she turned around until the ropes wound tightly around each other, going higher and...

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The Legacy

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pp. 9-38

She went and brushed her hair that was whiter than pull candy and rubbed a little dime store lipstick on her mouth. In the bathroom window, her cousin Tandy’s big white buckskin shoes all but covered the sill. They were outlined with swirling perforated leather strips, toe and heel and nest...

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A Fugitive’s Wife

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pp. 39-43

Before we got the dance thing going at the Bozart, I was just a young mother with a beat-up Volkswagen and a little girl, driving to park in some bay up the beach alone, wandering afternoons among the clumps of seaweed, dodging the occasional person who wanted to talk, picking up driftwood. You...

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Mr. McMillan

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pp. 45-55

There are few sights more pleasant than a girl and a man dining happily together, and those two over in the corner were laughing as well that night, not too loudly but not softly either, because something was really funny, you had to suppose. In the courtyard restaurant out in the soft New Orleans...

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Go South in the Winter

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pp. 57-63

Mrs. Landis came out into the morning sun of the West Indies in bathing suit and robe, seeking her beach chair before the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. She arranged her possessions around her, book and beach bag containing her cap, cosmetics, and wallet, then draped her towel on the back of...

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Ship Island: The Story of a Mermaid

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pp. 65-106

The French book was lying open on a corner of the dining room table, between the floor lamp and the window. The floor lamp, which had come with the house, had a cover made of green glass, with a fringe. The French book must have lain just that way for two months. Nancy, coming in from...


E-ISBN-13: 9781621039204
E-ISBN-10: 1617036846
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617036842

Page Count: 182
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Banner Books Series

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